Eric Church has combined a knack for writing fist-pumping hit songs and filling America’s biggest venues with an authenticity that’s made him one of the 21st century’s biggest and most interesting country music stars. The 37-year-old North Carolina native has captured the hearts of fans with raw honesty, a willingness to blend sounds and ideas in new ways in a genre bursting with change. Church’s latest album, 2014’s “The Outsiders,” was one of the year’s few critical and commercial successes regardless of genre. Universally lauded by critics from all corners of the music world, “The Outsiders” produced two No. 1 hits, had one of the year’s all-genre top-five debut weeks and was the first and one of just two mainstream country albums to go Platinum. “The Outsiders” helped Church earn a genre-high four Grammy Award nominations, including Best Country Album and Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance for “Give Me Back My Hometown.”
Church began performing at age 13 and turned his back on a marketing degree from Appalachian State to move to Nashville. Church arrived with a distinct and different point of view from Music Row tastes of the times. His first album, 2006’s “Sinners Like Me” yielded three Top 20 hits. He grew in popularity with the release of his second album, 2009’s “Carolina,” and as a relentless touring artist, then truly broke through in 2011 with “Chief.” That album gave Church three No. 1 singles, including “Springsteen” and “Drink in My Hand,” and won both the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music Album of the Year awards.